faith in ourselves

faithinourselves

‘Satan wants to destroy our faith in God. God wants to destroy our faith in ourselves.’ This is a quote from John Kimbell. It’s an amazing quote. And most of us would agree with the first part.

We know a lot about the enemy of our soul, Satan himself. We know he is like a roaring lion looking for someone to sink his teeth into. (1 Peter 5:8). We know that he took the boots to Job even though God had and has him on a short lease. We know that Ephesians 6 has a sobering look at our enemy and we are to be armed to the teeth for battle. We know that lies are his language because he is the father of lies (John 8:44).

But the second part of the quote seems a little off-cue to some of us. Our society tells us to believe in ourselves, to work hard, and to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Why would God want to kill trust in ourselves? Likely because we have absolutely nothing to bring to the table on our own.

We were born spiritually dead and only by His amazing grace does He breath spiritual life into dead peeps (Ephesians 2). He makes dead men dance (Ezekiel 37)! And then from there our moving forward in our faith is a co-operative effort fuelled by His grace. (Philippians 2:12-13).

There’s an all telling verse in 2 Corinthians. Ministry and life had been hard on the Apostle Paul. Ministry and life is hard. I have been reading a book by Paul David Tripp called Dangerous Calling and it’s a great reminder for those who preach and teach and lead that not only do they sometimes…often…always run into difficult ministries and difficult people, but they also have great difficulty with the person that stares back at them from the mirror every morning. Christian leaders need a super soaker drenching of God’s grace to be able to stand in the difficulties of ministry. Actually before we get to 2 Corinthians 1, let me remind you of what Paul was up against:

[23] Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. [24] Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. [25] Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; [26] on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; [27] in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. [28] And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.  (2 Corinthians 11:23-28 ESV)

Has anyone ever thrown you behind bars? Taken a sledgehammer to your skull? Thrown you behind bars?

As a newborn babe in Christ, Paul was told:

[16] For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
(Acts 9:16 ESV)

Woe! And why all these difficulties? Finally we arrive at 2 Corinthians 1:9.

[9] Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9 ESV)

Difficulty causes us to show that our own resource pool is pretty empty. Difficulty causes us to sprint into the arms of the Saviour who is never short on grace. Notice what it says about the God that we can run to? It says God who raises the dead. The God who is not short on power.

God wants us to destroy faith in ourselves. I don’t know your circumstances. It could be a family crisis, a financial difficulty, a persecution for your faith thing, a church matter, a health difficulty. I am not suggesting that God will remove these circumstances…in fact things could end rather badly for you, from the world’s perspective. But many times God does not remove the obstacle but grants the saint, the believer, the redeemed, the grace to suffer through the difficulty well.

Oh that we would cry out for grace and mercy more…He’s not short on power. Remember He brought His Son back from the grave. Oh, that God would destroy the faith that we put in ourselves and that it would increase, slowly but surely, in the One who raises the dead.

 

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